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Why We Work: Understanding Work through the Prism of Art and Culture (Undergraduate - SSI 199)

This subject guide is meant to assist students, particularly those enrolled in SII 199H1S Section L0441 Woodsworth College Course , with research papers and assignments.

Welcome to 199H1S Woodsworth College - Why We Work: Understanding Work through the Prism of Art and Culture

at work the art of california labor cover photo

Why We Work: Understanding Work through the Prism of Art and Culture

Why do we work? What does work mean to the average person? These questions are not as straightforward as they appear. We work for the bulk of our lives and most of our days are spent with co-workers who are neither family nor childhood friends, but we often fail to realize how self-defining work really is. This speaks to work’s centrality but also to its invisibility in reflective discourse. Through “popular” representations of work, however, (such as in story-telling, cave paintings, hieroglyphs, music, writing, painting, television, film, video games, etc.,) we can begin to better understand the meaning of work and how this has changed over time. Readings in anthropology and employment relations plus film and art criticism will help us explore these questions from an interdisciplinary perspective; assignments will encourage students to reflect on their own experience of work. Developing strong analytical and communication skills is an important goal of the course.

Instructor: R. Gomez, Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources
Breadth category: 3 Society and Its Institutions

Re-Imagining Work